Former government minister Joan Ryan is to be the new chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

Ryan, the newly elected MP for Enfield North, replaces Dame Anne McGuire, who stood down from parliament at the general election.

A former Home Office minister, senior whip and vice-chair of the Labour Party, Ryan brings a wealth of experience to the role. Aside from her experience in domestic politics, Ryan served as Special Representative to Cyprus in Gordon Brown’s government. It succeeded in getting the UN talks, which laid some of the foundations for today’s encouraging initiative on the island, upgraded.

A long-standing supporter of LFI, she joined a delegation for parliamentary candidates organised by the organisation in December. The delegation also included London Labour mayoral candidate, Dame Tessa Jowell and the new MP for Hove and Portslade, Peter Kyle.

Joan Ryan said:

“I am delighted to become the new chair of LFI and to build on the excellent work undertaken by Anne McGuire, John Woodcock and David Cairns during the last parliament. Labour must be steadfast in its support for Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy and a state founded upon social democratic values, and a two-state solution. We will continue to work with progressives in both Israel and Palestine who share our commitment to peace and co-existence. At the same time, we remain adamantly opposed to boycotts and sanctions, which delegitimise Israel, do nothing to further these goals and have no place in the Labour party.”